SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Deora rules out hike in petrol prices
Bhatinda refinery to be completed in 39 months
New Delhi, November 13
Despite international crude price remaining well above $ 90 a barrel, petroleum and natural gas minister Murli Deora today ruled out hike in retail prices of petrol and diesel for now.

Raw deal for Indian delegation in Moscow
New Delhi, November 13
The 34-member media delegation which accompanied Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his Russia visit got a raw deal from the Russians despite protests from Indian officials.

Yeddyurappa advances trust vote to Nov 19
Mixed signals from JD (S) on joining govt
Bangalore, November 13
Even as the BJP government is still to install itself firmly in the saddle and will seek a vote of confidence on November 19, the Janata Dal (Secular) continues to send mixed signals about joining the ministry with senior leaders mulling outside support to the government.


EARLIER STORIES


Rahul seeks report on TN Congress infighting
Chennai, November 13
Following Sunday’s armed attack at the Congress headquarters here, injuring the state youth Congress chief as a result of factionalism within the party, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has sought a report and sent an emissary here.

Abu Salem produced in Bhopal court
Bhopal, November 13
Underworld don Abu Salem, who was extradited along with his companion Monica Bedi from Portugal last year, was produced before Chief Judicial Magistrate A.K. Shrivastava here today in a fake passport case.

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Abu Salem arrives at Habibganj Railway Station to appear before the district court in connection with fake passport case in Bhopal on Tuesday.
— PTI photo

Abu Salem arrives at Habibganj Railway Station to appear before the district court in connection with fake passport case in Bhopal

Death due to negligence not homicide: SC
New Delhi, November 13
In a significant ruling relating to the culpability of a person charged with rash and negligent act causing death in the process, the Supreme Court has held that the person would not face murder charges as laid down in Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

PIL against ‘less’ representation to SCs
New Delhi, November 13
A day before the first phase of polling takes in Himachal Pradesh, a public interest litigation was filed the Supreme Court today claiming that the Scheduled Castes (SCs) were being given under-representation in the 68-member House by one seat.

Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel laureate Dalai Lama (left) releases a poster of Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi during the Satyagraha Centenary International Conference in New Delhi
Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel laureate Dalai Lama (left) releases a poster of Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi during the Satyagraha Centenary International Conference in New Delhi on Tuesday. — AFP

Bachchan case
HC reserves verdict on PIL
Lucknow, November 13
The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday reserved its decision on a petition challenging an order questioning Amitabh Bachchan’s assertion in a series of Samajwadi Party’s pre-election advertisements claiming that crime was comparatively less in Uttar Pradesh during their regime.

Fake Fossils Case
Dr Azmi now a relieved man
Dehra Dun, November 13
Having suffered the stigma of publishing fake research findings on the Vindhyanchal mountain ranges for nine years, Dr Rafat Jamal Azmi, a senior geologist at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, is a relieved man, thanks to its validation by a renowned Swedish geologist recently.

Bail pleas of Vanzara, 6 others rejected
Ahmedabad, November 13
A local court today rejected the bail applications of Gujarat ATS chief D.G.Vanzara and six others in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case of 2005. Additional city session court judge A.G.Urazee, in his order, rejected the bail applications of Vanzara and six others for their alleged role in killing Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

Sibal unveils biotech development strategy
Mohali to have agri-food tech cluster
New Delhi, November 13
The government today unveiled the National Biotechnology Development Strategy which aims at laying a strong foundation for discovery and innovation, contribute to long-term benefits in agriculture, animal productivity, human health, environmental security and sustainable industrial growth and take the annual revenue of the biotech industry to over $7 billion by 2010.

Bahugana seeks ‘green’ subsidy
Dehra Dun, November 13
Noted environmentalist and convener of the Save Himalaya Movement Sunder Lal Bahuguna has suggested granting subsidy to the hill people involved in growing and nursing trees in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand for the larger purpose of restoring Himalayan ecology.

Mulford gets top US award
New Delhi, November 13
US Ambassador to India David C. Mulford was presented the state department’s Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service in a ceremony attended by secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and other senior diplomatic officials, the US embassy here said today.

Dasmunsi’s remarks flayed
New Delhi, November 13
The CPI (M) today took strong exception to the remarks of information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi regarding the developments in Nandigram, saying his utterances betrayed hypocrisy and had “aided and abetted the nefarious activities of armed squads” whose ultimate aim was to destabilise the Left Front government.

9 die in road mishap
Bhabua, November 13
Altogether nine persons were killed and four seriously injured at Katra-kala village near here when their vehicle met with an accident on National Highway 30 today.

4 die after inhaling smoke
Lakhisarai, November 13
Three women and a new-born infant died on the spot after inhaling smoke in their thatched house at Hasanpur village in this South Bihar district last night.

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Deora rules out hike in petrol prices
Bhatinda refinery to be completed in 39 months
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 13
Despite international crude price remaining well above $ 90 a barrel, petroleum and natural gas minister Murli Deora today ruled out hike in retail prices of petrol and diesel for now.

Addressing the Economic Editors’ Conference here, the minister also informed that the Guru Gobind Singh Refinery Project (GGSRP), being set up at Bathinda by HPCL-Mittal Energy JV, would be completed in 39 months.

“We do not want to burden the common man and will wait for the oil prices to stabilise before taking any decision,” Deora said even as he expressed concern over the mounting under-recoveries of oil marketing companies (OMCs) due to rising global crude prices.

“We are concerned about the mounting under-recoveries… We are in consultation with the finance ministry to reach an early workable solution and an appropriate decision on fuel prices will be taken at appropriate time,” Deora added.

According to the latest data released by the petroleum ministry, India’s crude oil import bill rose 3.48 per cent in rupee terms during the first half of current fiscal despite the appreciation in rupee value partially offsetting the sharp rise in global oil prices. In dollar terms, the crude import bill rose 16.67 per cent to $ 29.492 million.

In 2006-07, India had imported 110.86 million tonnes of crude for Rs 219,991 crore or $ 48.104 billion.

Fuel exports were up 22.4 per cent to 19.90 million tonnes in April-September. In rupee terms, the rise was 13.42 per cent to Rs 49,981 crore and in dollar terms, it was 28.56 per cent at $ 12.253 billion.

In 2006-07, India exported 32.39 million tonnes of products for Rs 80,172 crore or $ 17.649 billion.

Explaining the progress of the HPCL-Mittal joint venture refinery project, Deora said the refinery would be implemented in 39 months from today.

Pointing out that the public sector refineries of HPCL, BPCL and IOC were implementing projects for the creation of additional capacity in existing refineries to the extent of 8.23 MMTPA by December 2009, he said the green field projects of 6 MMTPA refinery at Bina, 9 MMTPA refinery at Bhatinda and 15 MMTPA refinery at Paradeep were slated to be implemented in the 11th plan period.

Besides, RIL was implementing a project of doubling the refining capacity at Jamnagar, he added.

“Once these refinery projects (at Bhatinda, Bina and Paradeep) are commissioned the export surplus will rise to 92 MT,” petroleum secretary M.S. Srinivasan, who was present at the conference, informed.

On the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) Pipeline, he said before the next tripartite meeting takes place a bilateral meeting between India and Pakistan was necessary to decide the transportation tariff, transit fee and “our commission on the price revision clause proposed by Iran”.

The government was finalising the date for the meeting, he said.

On the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, the next steering committee meeting of the participating countries was scheduled to be held on November 28-29, he said.

The minister also announced that the government would launch a New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-VII) shortly by December-January. Nearly 60 blocks would be offered for exploration and production comprising 30 onshore blocks, 15 shallow water blocks, and 15 deep water and ultra deep water blocks in the east and the west cost of the shore area, he said.

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Raw deal for Indian delegation in Moscow
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 13
The 34-member media delegation which accompanied Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his Russia visit got a raw deal from the Russians despite protests from Indian officials.

The treatment meted out to the media delegates turns the spotlight on the Russian system, which is shorn of niceties. Surprisingly, even external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee was also not spared from undiplomatic treatment by non-diplomatic Russian officials at Moscow airport just before his departure for home last month.

After the Prime Minister and his official delegates had disembarked from the special aircraft and were taken out of the airport in their respective vehicles, the media delegates found themselves stranded at the airport. The reason: the Russian officials would not allow a bus on the tarmac. The media personnel were told to trudge up to their bus which was at least half a kilometre away.

The Indian officials’ protests fell on deaf ears as the Russians refused to budge. Finally, the Indian journalists had to wade through snow and slush, with their luggage in tow, to board their vehicle.

The same unsavoury episode was enacted the next day shortly before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to depart from Moscow. And this time the drama was much fiercer. The Russian officials at the Moscow airport refused the media bus to travel close to the tarmac and stopped it at quite a distance, this time about a kilometre from the aircraft.

Ugly verbal duels took place between the Indian and Russian officials -- the former trying to impress upon the Russians to let the media bus in as they were getting late for catching the flight, while the latter citing their rigid rules and regulations. The Moscow airport security in charge gave his final ruling that the Indian media bus would not be let in and this was when that the Indian officials put their foot down.

The Russians were told that the Indian media bus, if not allowed in, would go back to the hotel. This triggered alarm signs for the Russian officials who quickly realised that a diplomatic row could well be in the offing. They finally gave in because President Vladimir Putin was to board a plane an hour later from the same runway where the Indian Prime Minister’s aircraft was parked.

The Prime Minister’s official delegation was spared from these ugly incidents.

New Delhi’s take is that these incidents demonstrate the Russian system as well as their officials’ rigid mindset and does not reflect a chill in Indo-Russian bilateral relations.

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Yeddyurappa advances trust vote to Nov 19
Mixed signals from JD (S) on joining govt
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, November 13
Even as the BJP government is still to install itself firmly in the saddle and will seek a vote of confidence on November 19, the Janata Dal (Secular) continues to send mixed signals about joining the ministry with senior leaders mulling outside support to the government.

Yeddyurappa held a meeting of his cabinet today to advance the date for proving his government’s majority on the floor of the house after Governor Rameshwar Thakur asked him to seek vote of confidence within eight days. The Assembly will now be convened for one day for this exercise.

Earlier, the newly formed cabinet had asked the Governor to convene the Assembly on November 23 to allow him to prove his majority in the House. Yeddyurappa while explaining his action said he had chosen November 23 earlier as the JD (S) had indicated that its representatives would join the ministry on that day.

After advancing the vote of confidence and ongoing mixed signals from the JD (S), pressure is likely to be put again on the BJP to consider the 12-point charter submitted to the party earlier by H.D. Deve Gowda. The JD (S) has also let it out that it is considering giving outside support to the BJP government which political observers interpret as another pressure tactic adopted by Gowda to keep the saffron party on a tight leash.

Meanwhile, the JD (S) camp is in a state of turmoil not only over the issue of Deputy Chief Ministership for which both sons of Deve Gowda are in the race but also for ministers. As many as 25 legislators, who did not get representation in the previous government, have demanded they be given a chance this time.

Legislator B.C. Patil said the legislators, who met in the city today, were only reminding Kumaraswamy of a promise made to them earlier in January this year. Patil said Kumaraswamy had assured them that new faces would be accommodated when the party changed posts with the BJP as had happened now.

He said legislators who had already got a chance during the earlier coalition government with the BJP should be asked to work for strengthening the party. Patil said barring Kumaraswamy and his brother Revanna no one else should be given a second term in the cabinet. The legislators are likely to meet party supreme Deve Gowda with their request in the coming day or two.

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Rahul seeks report on TN Congress infighting
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, November 13
Following Sunday’s armed attack at the Congress headquarters here, injuring the state youth Congress chief as a result of factionalism within the party, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has sought a report and sent an emissary here.

AICC general secretary for Tamil Nadu Arun Kumar arrived here today on a fact-finding mission and met a large number of state Congress leaders and party workers, who were present at the Sathyamurthy Bhavan during the attack.

He also went to TNCC president M. Krishnaswamy’s residence as he is recuperating from his stab-injury sustained during an attack on him on October 29 at the Ramanathapuram district. Kumar held a detailed discussion with the state Congress chief about the state of affairs within the party.

Congress sources said Rahul Gandhi, who is in charge of the All-India Youth Congress on behalf of the CSC, has expressed extreme displeasure over Sunday’s violence, in which state YC chief Mayura Jayakumar and two others were stabbed.

The Chennai city police has registered cases under seven Sections of the IPC on the charges against Prasad and 17 others, and four teams have been formed to arrest the accused.

Meanwhile, the Madras High Court today heard the petition for anticipatory bail by Prasad as he apprehended arrest by the police since he was named as prime accused in Sunday’s attack, but adjourned it for two weeks. The judge, however, asked the public prosecutor not to arrest Vishnu Prasad during the time.

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Abu Salem produced in Bhopal court

Bhopal, November 13
Underworld don Abu Salem, who was extradited along with his companion Monica Bedi from Portugal last year, was produced before Chief Judicial Magistrate A.K. Shrivastava here today in a fake passport case.

Following objections raised by the defence counsel P.C. Bedi seeking to set his client free, the CJM adjourned the hearing till 3 pm and directed the prosecution to reply to the objection.

Bedi objected his client’s trial in the fake passport case, which, he said, was not listed among the cases cited for Abu Salem’s extradition from Portugal. He sought cancellation of the production warrant, as Abu Salem could not be tried in a Bhopal court.

Earlier, Abu Salem was brought here by train from Mumbai amid tight security following the CJM’s earlier order directing the superintendent of Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail to produce the gangster in the court.

Prosecution counsel K.N. Kansana sought time to reply to the defence counsel’s plea.

A case was registered against Abu Salem, his wife Samira Jumani and companion Monica Bedi for getting passports from Bhopal’s passport office in 2001 in assumed names of Danish Beg, Rubina Beg and Fouzia Beg respectively. Their two local contacts were also made accused.

Monica Bedi, who spent few months in Bhopal jail, had been acquitted in the case three months ago. — UNI

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Death due to negligence not homicide: SC
S.S Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 13
In a significant ruling relating to the culpability of a person charged with rash and negligent act causing death in the process, the Supreme Court has held that the person would not face murder charges as laid down in Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

In such cases Section 302 has no application and at the most it might fall under Section 304-A of the IPC, a Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and P.Sathasivam ruled, while deciding an appeal of a bus driver from Madhya Pradesh against framing murder charges against him by the trial court and upheld by the MP High Court.

The trial court had framed charges against driver Niresh Giri under Section 302 for causing death of two persons due to rash driving at an unmanned level crossing in August 2004 when he tried to beat the speed of the approaching train to just cross through but failed.

This he had done despite the passengers continuously asking him not to take such a risk as the train was approaching at a fast speed.

The apex court said for establishing the murder charges, the element of “criminal intention to cause death” was necessary and till this condition was met, a person could not be charged with murder.

“If a person wilfully drives a motor vehicle into the midst of a crowd and thereby causes death to some person, it will not be a case of mere rash and negligent driving and the act will amount to culpable homicide.

“Doing an act with the intention to kill a person or knowledge that doing an act was likely to cause a person’s death is culpable homicide,” the apex court clarified.

The judgement assumes significance in the wake of several high profile cases of negligent rash driving involving celebrities like film star Salman Khan, Capital’s BMW case, involving the grandson of former Naval Chief S.M Nanda and Mumbai businessman Alstair Pareira, hitting the headlines recently.

Since in cases of rash and negligent driving, “there may be no motive or intention till a person may venture or practice such rashness or negligence which may cause death of the other,” the court said.

It further clarified that the charge of murder could not be slapped merely because of the death of some person has been caused due to the negligent act. “Death so caused is not the determining factor,” it ruled.

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PIL against ‘less’ representation to SCs
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 13
A day before the first phase of polling takes in Himachal Pradesh, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed the Supreme Court today claiming that the Scheduled Castes (SCs) were being given under-representation in the 68-member House by one seat.

As the court registry listed the PIL for hearing on November 26, the petitioner Virender Kumar made a special mention before a Bench, headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrsihnan, for its early hearing.

He said it would become infructuous once the poll process was set in motion for 65 seats on November 23 as announced by the Election Commission (EC) in its notification.

Acceding to the request of Virender Kumar, who argued as petitioner-in-person, the court advanced the hearing to November 22.

In the PIL, he has raised the issue of less representation to SCs in the state afresh after the Supreme Court rejected his petition on May 5, 2003, filed by him after the 2002 Assembly elections.

He said as per the November 18, 2002, order of the Delimitation Commission, the total number of reserved constituencies in the state should have been 17 instead of the existing 16.

He claimed the apex court had earlier rejected his petition mainly because he had approached it after the 2002 elections. However, the court had asked him to approach it after the five-year tenure of the Assembly came to end.

As per the EC notification of October 10 advancing the elections in the state with two-phased polling, voting in the three tribal constituencies of Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti and Bharmour (reserved for STs) is scheduled for tomorrow, while it will be held for the remaining 65 seats on December 19.

The PIL said if the Delimitation Commission order was not implemented in these Assembly elections, it would amount to depriving the SCs of their right to have adequate representation in the House, as envisaged in Article 332(3) of the Constitution about proportionate representation to them as per their population.

In view of the commission’s order, the petitioner has sought a direction to the EC to implement it in the letter and spirit to restore the right of SCs to have adequate representation in the Assembly.

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Bachchan case
HC reserves verdict on PIL
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, November 13
The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday reserved its decision on a petition challenging an order questioning Amitabh Bachchan’s assertion in a series of Samajwadi Party’s pre-election advertisements claiming that crime was comparatively less in Uttar Pradesh during their regime.

A division bench of the High Court comprising Justice U. K. Dhaon and Justice S. S. Chauhan reserved their order after hearing the counsel for petitioner Brij Bhushan Dubey.

Under the Right to Information, the petitioner had earlier sought to know the basis of Bachchan’s claim in the advertisement ‘UP mein hai dam kyonki jurm yahan hai kam’ from the state information commissioner.

However, the petition was rejected after the Bachchan’s counsel replied to the notice issued by the commission to the cine star. After this, Dubey challenged this order in the Allahabad High Court. The petitioner further submitted that Bachchan did not send his reply by registered post as directed by the commission nor did he appear before it. The commission, instead of initiating proceedings under Section 18 (3), disposed of the complaint relying on the fax, the petition said.

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Fake Fossils Case
Dr Azmi now a relieved man
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, November 13
Having suffered the stigma of publishing fake research findings on the Vindhyanchal mountain ranges for nine years, Dr Rafat Jamal Azmi, a senior geologist at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, is a relieved man, thanks to its validation by a renowned Swedish geologist recently.

Living with humiliation all these years, Dr Azmi has every reason to cheer as internationally reputed geologist Prof Stefan Bengston of the Swedish Museum of Natural History has recognised his painstaking research work, which was rubbished in the country in 1998, creating a major controversy in the scientific community.

“I feel vindicated and highly relieved. Probably, it was my bad luck that my reputation and credibility of my work suffered as it was linked with the infamous case of V.J. Gupta of Panjab University, Chandigarh, but somehow I could withstand the indignation heaped on me,” he told The Tribune.

The trailblazing effort received brickbats from fellow geologists and the media after Dr Azmi made public his findings in a research paper in which he had claimed to have discovered Cambrian micro-fossils nearly 550 million years old in the lower Vindhya ranges. This shattered earlier view that these mountain ranges were 1,400 to 1,100 million years old while he claimed that Vindhyas were as old as Himalayas.

The findings attracted attention of the Swedish geologist after the case was published in international science magazines. He also visited Vindhyas in 2006 and found the Cambrian fossils. His presentation of abstract at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America held at Denver last month confirming the claim of his hapless fellow Indian geologist.

Though the institute’s director Prof B.R. Arora also expressed relief over the development, but added that it was premature to comment on it.

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Bail pleas of Vanzara, 6 others rejected

Ahmedabad, November 13
A local court today rejected the bail applications of Gujarat ATS chief D.G.Vanzara and six others in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case of 2005.

Additional city session court judge A.G.Urazee, in his order, rejected the bail applications of Vanzara and six others for their alleged role in killing Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

A total of 13 policemen, including three IPS officials, were arrested in the sensational case in which ATS teams of Gujarat and Rajasthan had allegedly murdered Sohrabuddin and eliminated his wife Kausar Bi in Ahmedabad in 2005.

However, earlier the court had granted conditional bail to two IPS officers, Narendra Amin (Gujarat) and M.N.Dinesh (Rajasthan). — UNI

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Sibal unveils biotech development strategy
Mohali to have agri-food tech cluster
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 13
The government today unveiled the National Biotechnology Development Strategy which aims at laying a strong foundation for discovery and innovation, contribute to long-term benefits in agriculture, animal productivity, human health, environmental security and sustainable industrial growth and take the annual revenue of the biotech industry to over $7 billion by 2010.

Unveiling the strategy, science and technology minister Kapil Sibal said biotechnology was a sunrise sector, which requires focused attention.

He said the National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority would be set up as an independent, autonomous and professionally led body to provide a single window mechanism for biosafety clearance of genetically modified products and processes. He said the authority was likely to be set up through a legislation in about three months.

To effectively address crosscutting issues for development of biotechnology sector, a high-powered inter-ministerial committee, headed by secretary, Department of Bio-Technology (DBT), will be set up.

Sibal said in a major departure from normal funding mechanisms, 30 percent of DBTs budget in the 11th Plan would be spent on public-private partnership programmes.

He said developing technology clusters was a key strategy to promote innovation and product development. Four technology clusters were at an advanced stage of planning, with one each to be set up in Punjab and Haryana.

The agri-food technology cluster, to be located at the Knowledge City in Mohali, will have National Agri-food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), food bioprocess unit to provide services to startup companies, and an agri-food park. All of these will be set up through the DBT.

The cluster also will have a nanotechnology centre (through Department of Science and Technology), an Indian Institute of Science Education and Research and a management institute.

The Health Science Biotechnology Cluster, being established in Haryana at Faridabad by the DBT, will include a Translational Health Science Technology Institute, Vaccine Technology Centre, Diagnostics Development Centre, Platform Technology Unit, Animal Facility for Studying Human Diseases and UNESCO Centre for Biotechnology Education and Research.

Besides, an animal science and biotechnology cluster will be located in Andhra Pradesh and a marine science and technology cluster in Tamil Nadu. The last two clusters will be located around a university.

Sibal said that a Biotechnlogy Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP) for Advanced Technology would be launched and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) would act as an interface between academic and private sector, particularly small and medium enterprises and startups.

In order to create and strengthen world-class institutional research capacity in biotechnology, 50 centers of excellence would be set up during the 11th Plan.

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Bahugana seeks ‘green’ subsidy
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, November 13
Noted environmentalist and convener of the Save Himalaya Movement Sunder Lal Bahuguna has suggested granting subsidy to the hill people involved in growing and nursing trees in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand for the larger purpose of restoring Himalayan ecology.

In an informal chat here today, Bahuguna said the state government would do well to subsidise the cost of greening the Himalayas as an incentive for three years. This could effectively address the problems of soil erosion, exodus of the hill youths to the plain areas as well as help water conservation.

He broadly attributed the problem to the network of motorable roads created in the Himalayan region in deference of the hill people’s demand to rid them of burden as well as for the security along international borders with China and Nepal. “It has now turned out that these roads have played havoc with the region’s ecology causing frequent landslides besides spoiling the scenic landscape,” he argued.

The need of the hour is to establish ropeways for the purpose of connectivity between valleys and hilltops. The land vacated by the roads should be covered with trees and bushes bearing fruits, nuts, fodder and fibre, he suggested in view of the experts’ prediction about disappearance of Gangotri glacier, the source of Ganga, by 2025.

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Mulford gets top US award
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 13
US Ambassador to India David C. Mulford was presented the state department’s Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service in a ceremony attended by secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and other senior diplomatic officials, the US embassy here said today.

In presenting the award, Ambassador Mulford was cited for his tireless and successful work in fostering the United States’ growing bilateral partnership with India. President Bush wrote a special letter of thanks to the Ambassador, congratulating him on the award and noting, “Under your leadership, we have seen the partnership between the United States and India strengthen and expand on a range of global issues.”

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Dasmunsi’s remarks flayed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 13
The CPI (M) today took strong exception to the remarks of information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi regarding the developments in Nandigram, saying his utterances betrayed hypocrisy and had “aided and abetted the nefarious activities of armed squads” whose ultimate aim was to destabilise the Left Front government.

In a strongly-worded statement, CPI (M) leaders, Sitaram Yechury and Basudev Acharia said Dasmunsi’s remarks in which he termed the developments in Nandigram as “CPI(M)-led state-sponsored massacre” were condemnable and shocking.

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9 die in road mishap

Bhabua, November 13
Altogether nine persons were killed and four seriously injured at Katra-kala village near here when their vehicle met with an accident on National Highway 30 today.

The police said six people were killed on the spot and two succumbed to their injuries on way to the hospital when the vehicle carrying them from Benaras to Mahaurio village in Kaimur district, collided head on with an oil tanker coming from the opposite direction.

Five persons who sustained injuries were admitted to a nearby hospital where the condition of all was stated to be critical. One of them later died in the hospital. — UNI

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4 die after inhaling smoke

Lakhisarai, November 13
Three women and a new-born infant died on the spot after inhaling smoke in their thatched house at Hasanpur village in this South Bihar district last night.

Reports reaching the district headquartes here today said the mishap occurred when the three women of the same family went to sleep along with the new-born baby inside the closed room.

In order to keep the room warm, they lit some husks which generated a lot of smoke. — PTI

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